Monday, January 02, 2012

Resolution ... well, sort of.

At last, Christmas is over, the New Year is beginning and I can get on… I quite often feel like that at this time of year and, since this is resolution time, many other do too. Now the compulsory gorging, socialising and alcohol excess has come to an end. Now it’s time to sober up and look at the costs.

The first cost I noted last night. Unable to get to sleep I sat up reading a book. While reading I looked down at my torso and noted that it’s measurement front to back is now more than the one from side to side. This is despite doing twenty sit-ups and press-ups every morning for months, and cycling 16 to 24 miles a week. It really is time for me to do something about my big fat gut.

January is our zero alcohol month so that’ll knock off the calories, prove to myself that I’m not an unrecoverable alcoholic and allow my liver to recover… Then again, I read recently an article titled ‘Janopause detox does more harm than good’. Apparently ‘doctors say’ this is medically futile and fails to rejuvenate the liver. Yet, the liver does regenerate very quickly so how can a month off the booze not be a good thing? Of course, reading between the lines it soon becomes evident that this is an article patched together by the anti-alcohol lobby – the kind of people who want the pointless minimum pricing on alcohol. Taking a month off apparently encourages people, who are of course all idiots, to think that they are immune to the effects of alcohol for the rest of the year. And we must all stick to the government advised limit on alcohol units … oh yeah, let’s revisit that (have to pay to see it now):

The safe limits were introduced in 1987 after the Royal College of Physicians produced its first health report on alcohol misuse. In A Great and Growing Evil: The Medical Consequences of Alcohol Abuse, the college warned that a host of medical problems – including liver disease, strokes, heart disease, brain disease and infertility – were associated with excessive drinking. The report was the most significant study into alcohol-related disorders to date.

But Richard Smith, the former editor of the British Medical Journal and a member of the college’s working party on alcohol, told The Times yesterday that the figures were not based on any clear evidence. He remembers “rather vividly” what happened when the discussion came round to whether the group should recommend safe limits for men and women.

“David Barker was the epidemiologist on the committee and his line was that ‘We don’t really have any decent data whatsoever. It’s impossible to say what’s safe and what isn’t’.

“And other people said, ‘Well, that’s not much use. If somebody comes to see you and says ‘What can I safely drink?’ you can’t say ‘Well, we’ve no evidence. Come back in 20 years and we’ll let you know’. So the feeling was that we ought to come up with something. So those limits were really plucked out of the air. They weren’t really based on any firm evidence at all.

In fact, take a look at this bit of QI on this matter, then google the subject and try to find anything about this in the righteous bansturbation proliferating across the Internet.



I’ll also be ramping up the exercise and cutting down on what I stick in my mouth. I often start this off by spending a day eating nothing – the next day finding I’m no more hungry in the morning than I was the day before – thereafter, eating less and having further ‘days off’ like this shrinks my stomach so I just don’t feel as hungry. Of course this is, apparently, a bad thing to do too. I disagree. What the hell is fat for? It is a way of storing up calories for lean times. So what happens if you don’t eat? You burn up fat rather than the half a pack of chocolate biscuits you ate last night. It’s quite a simple equation.

Okay, I’m off for a cycle now.  

15 comments:

Neil said...

I thought the doctors said that it's better longer term to ease back on the number of days in the week you drink. So if you are drinking 7 days a week, go to 5 for instance.

If all professional people were idiots, I'm suprised that you get on a plane :)

Good luck with the exercise, I can still fondly remember the washboard stomach of my youth.

Neal Asher said...

It's infantilizing, Neil - also very silly, because the giving up for a month can only be good for you. It is the supposed ensuing binge of 11 months that is bad for you and the main target of approbation. Mixed message.

I don't consider all professional people idiots. I just consider those driven by idiot utopian political agendas to be detestable.

Chrish said...

Hahahaha! it's that time of the year again huh?
In my humble opinion stress and frustration are the key factor, your daily intake of anger, sadness, fear and frustration is much more harmful than the intake of all sorts of goodies mother nature provided us with, hahaha, still....must take it easy now for a while....

Neal Asher said...

Chrish, well, that intake is countered by the cigarettes and booze...

Jay said...

I'm not a doctor but I play one on the Internet. Don't skip meals. Starving actually burns muscle before fat so you're losing weight but the wrong way. Eat breakfast or your body will try and store your next meal as fat.

Cardio 30 mins a day is all you need. Build up muscle and your metabolisim will burn fat. Obviously don't pig out on highly saturated fats. Alcohol doesn't help because your metabolisim slows and food you eat then gets stored. Don't eat and drink!

Graeme said...

Quinoa, Dorset cereals for breakfast to fuel the engine, fresh fruit and veg, plenty of water in between and a jolly good walk.

Clip two below puts it all into context... just count the old people, he's probably bang on.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yzbxwxWUz0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grASRemwpaE

And don't forget English ale is one of your five a day.

PS: Jay is bang on.

Neal Asher said...

Sorry, Jay, but that's ridiculous. The body burns free proteins first (not muscle), then carbohydrates then fat, then muscle. There's a lot of bullshit out there in the weight-loss world.

Neal Asher said...

Here's an interesting comment from Dick Puddlecote's blog:

HeartAttackSurvivor said...
When I was being stented after my heart attack, my cardio surgeon told me "now, listen to me because I'm a heart specialist and I know these things. I want you to drink red wine every day". He then went on at length (and I was of course a captive audience...) that he was closely associated with the working group that threw up the "21 units" figure. Apparently they had told the government that the range of units over which the mortality rate was lower than LD50 was 21 to 65 units (it's a "J" shaped curve) and NOTWITHSTANDING other effects - cancer, liver disease, falling over into the path of a bus etc, people who drink 21 to 65 units a week live longer than people who drink nothing. The chief government health wonk was appalled and said "we can't tell people to drink 65 units a week (about a bottle a day)!" So they fixed it at 21, any more than that and you're a total sot with the life expetancy of Amy Winehouse. Also see http://www.wightwash.org.uk/drinks_units_myth.htm

Neal Asher said...

6lb lost through one day of not eating. I know it's mostly fluid, but then, what are we mostly made of?

Graeme said...

What we are made of no problems... what most people are full of... different question (present company excepted).

Interesting personal factoid: If I'm retaining fluid... and I seem to, I find the solution is to drink beer, sorry lager, you put one pint in and get six or seven out, sometimes I think I should mention it to a doctor, but then I think "fuck it, it's probably nothing".

PS: I usually retain fluid when I've got a hangover, it's a proper puzzle.

PPS: I'm not inferring that I drink to excess regularly, just that the above is my observation.

PPPS: I'l shut up and go away now.

PPPPS: If anyone else has the observed the same phenomina and it's not indicating imminent death, please feel free to share... but maybe on the forum though :-).

daniel ware said...

So... you passed out 6 pounds of weight?! In one day!! personally i think people should just forget stupid resolutions they never stick to and just live happy - generally you'll live longer that way anyway as stress is a bigger problem than almost anything else - and what's more stressful than forcing yourself to change your life-style uncomfortably even temporarily?

Neal Asher said...

Graeme, I retain fluid when I have a hangover. I think it's my body going into shock, or maybe my heart on the way to packing up. And of course alcohol is a diuretic...

Dan, that's easy for you to say - last time I saw you you were built like a racing snake. When I've gathered together enough will power I like to lose weight because I have more energy wellbeing (and of course feel better about how I look). It's so easy to get into the vicious circle of putting on weight and not having enough energy to lose weight.

Neal Asher said...

I was going to do a blog post on this, but I'll put it here:

A recent example here is someone’s contention that by starving myself I would lose muscle before fat. Now, if you search this subject on the Internet you’ll come across a lot of stuff that claims this to be true, and a lot of stuff that claims otherwise. In such a case it is then necessary to go back to first principles: what is fat for and what is muscle for? Muscle is necessary to move us around so we can obtain food, run away from predators and breed. Fat is a way of storing up calories in times of plenty for when times are lean. Now consider how long a species would last if instead of burning up fat in lean times it burned up muscle. It would damage its chances of doing the main things it evolved to do to preserve fat for … what? It is, quite simply, a ridiculous idea. It is, I warrant, a meme put about by people trying to sell diet or life-style plans. It really isn’t in their best interests for people to know that the formula is quite simple: less in the mouth and more exercise is the basic principle which is probably 90% of weight-loss, everything else is window dressing. They want you to believe that that you need to buy this diet book, this exercise video, this diet plan, or buy these supplements. If you don’t, you’ll get it wrong and lose muscle instead of fat. It is also the case that the dieters want to believe all this, rather than the hard reality of having to feel hungry.

twigling said...

I have found the best and most natural way to eat, and loose weight or maintain it, and stay healthy is following the Primal Blueprint lifestyle; check it out at marksdailyapple.com. It's about cutting out foods that the human body has not adapted to (grains, legumes, vegetable oils, processed foods in general) and instead favouring meat, saturated and monosaturated fat, eggs, nuts and loads of vegetables. Organic is better, but anything is better than processed food. As for exercise, PB suggests eschewing cardio in favour of heavy lifting and moving slowly for longer periods of time with occasional short bursts of sprinting. I have been following it since Sept last year and lost 10kg so far without really trying. I walk or kayak (surf ski) for an hour minimum every morning, and need to get back into some strength training again too, but feel great. Still have a coffee with cream in the morning, and an occasional glass of wine, but can happily go all day on one large meal with a few snacks (nuts) when I get peckish. Laying off the grains and carbs has been the best thing I ever did, and I'll not be going back to it ~ highly recommended that anyone who is interested tries it for a month and feel the changes; more energy, more alert, improved moods and outlook. And the best thing is it's not a program or product that you have to pay for, just something that you decide to do... I'll admit I lapsed a bit over the holidays but have got back on track now ;)

Neal Asher said...

Twigling, in essence that is what I usually settle down to doing when I want to lose weight. I cut out bread, potatoes, pasta pastry and rice. I cycle three times a week and weight train twice. This year I have yet to start the weight training, however.